11/09/2015 04:14 EST | Updated 11/09/2015 04:59 EST

Giving Back: How enviroFund Circulates Your Money Back Into Your Community

Dougal Waters via Getty Images
Woman passing potatoes to man on farm.

Whether comparing it to other credit card rewards programs or taking it on its own merits, Vancity’s enviro™ Visa* isn’t your average credit card. For community-minded individuals, the enviro Visa card might be the option you’re looking for: one that provides rewards¹ for you and support for the community you live in.

Credit card rewards programs are pretty much similar in what they offer cardholders for regular use. Rewards usually come in the form of merchandise, travel points, or cash. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a credit card that wasn’t offering you something back.

The Vancity enviro Visa card, however, goes beyond that. It ensures that you’re giving something back as well, with no added cost to you and no interference with the existing rewards program. How? The Vancity enviroFund™ program.

Cardholders support the enviroFund by making purchases as they normally would, but afterwards, five per cent of enviro Visa profits find their way back to the local community.

Cardholders simply use their cards as they normally would and the enviroFund is included automatically. Cardholders still earn rewards in the form of points they can use on travel and merchandise, financial rewards, and the ability to donate points to registered Canadian charities.

The enviroFund program was created in 1990 as a means to help local communities be sustainable and environmentally conscious. Over its 25 years, it has distributed more than $6 million to help achieve these aims. Contributions have happened in three different ways: targeted sector support, sustainable food system development initiatives, and local food project grants.

Vancity, by way of the enviroFund’s targeted sector support, is “committed to helping local and sustainable food businesses grow.” This includes farms, fisheries, processors, and restaurants that commit themselves to sustainability. Last year’s recipients included the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets and the Small Scale Food Processor Association.

Source: Getty

Sustainable food system development initiatives support existing organizations devoted to sustainable food programs. In keeping with its hyper-local mandate, Vancity is “interested in supporting organizations to build a food system which contributes to a healthier environment, improved individual health, and a more resilient local economy.” The grants range from $20,000 to $40,000.

Local food project grants range from $15,000 to $40,000 and are meant to support action-oriented, innovative, scalable projects aimed at helping grow the local and sustainable food sector. Local food project grants are meant to assist “not-for-profit, cooperative, social enterprise” and First Nations groups. These grants help support growing sustainable food locally, developing the infrastructure to distribute it, and encouraging restaurants and others to purchase it.

Vancity’s commitment to its local community and its environment is absolute, and a reason it wins awards for contributing to its local community, its local environment, and environmental causes in general. The enviroFund is just one way it does that. For more information, visit www.vancity.com.

™ enviro and enviroFund are trademarks of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union.

* Trademark of Visa Int., used under license ¹Conditions apply. For rewards program terms and conditions visit myvisarewardsplus.com/termsandconditions.